October 20, 2020

Open Forum for Newbies

casablanca round up the usual suspects 1942 aph_15

For all of you who are regular commenters on Internet Monk: this morning’s post is your Open Forum. I encourage you to continue your discussions there.

This afternoon’s Open Forum is for people who have never or who only rarely make a comment on Internet Monk.

I want to encourage you newbies to speak up and let us know you’re there.

  • Maybe you have a comment but haven’t yet wanted to wade in to the rough-and-tumble comment threads we sometimes have here.
  • Maybe you are a new reader and have thoughts or questions about the site.
  • Maybe you just like reading and don’t care to comment on a regular basis.

Whatever your situation, I’d like to hear from some folks this afternoon who are not among “the usual suspects” we round up daily here at Internet Monk. Every once in awhile I just like to meet some new folks, that’s all.

The floor is yours.


  1. (clears throat, taps the microphone…)
    Is this thing on?
    I love this blog, but I’ll admit to rarely posting here–by the time I see something I want to comment on, the conversation has gone so far beyond that post that I know it wouldn’t be read by the man/woman/little furry creature I’m speaking to. 😀
    But I love it here! Y’all are one of my daily stops as I try not to procrastinate my sermon writing. Carry on!

    • Great to have you, Darcyjo.

    • Cathryn Troiano says

      I don’t add comments, because that is not why I am here. I am here to gain the wisdom that I so often find on your pages. Pages that interest, inspire; pages that make me think about my faith in new and interesting ways. Many friends and family wrestle with the same moments of doubt, frustration and confusion around ideas of faith. And I find I can share the pages with them. What a wonderful gift. Thanks for the hard work it takes to sort through these weighty issues for us.

  2. Transferred this from the earlier post – Not sure anyone will be interested in this but I’ve just started Tim Suttle’s book ‘An Evangelical Social Gospel?’. I wonder if anyone has read it, whether Tim still is an ‘evangelical’, and, ignoring other theological differences, whether a more appropriately focused evangelicalism might find its way out of the wilderness. To borrow from Michael Spencer’s book, I’m one of those still standing in the doorway trying to decide whether to sit down or turn around and leave.

  3. I’ve been reading this blog for a long time and I enjoy it.
    When it comes to commenting though, the “regulars” usually say
    It best. No need for my two cents!

  4. StrangerTides says

    Okay, since you asked…

    I’m an atheist but a regular churchgoer for family reasons. I’m a long time lurker, though I have to admit that I’m not particularly interested in much of the content here. Not only that, I’m pretty much convinced that the anti-accommodationists are right that there are significant incompatibilities between science and religion. But I include internetmonk in my RSS feed and I perk up when I see intelligent posts on science, evolution, morality, fundamentalism, and that sort of thing. I figure it can’t hurt to read what some of the smarter folks on the “other side” are saying. 😉 So thanks!

  5. Hi everyone!

    I don’t comment often, but I’ve been following the site for years. I was an occasional reader in Michael Spencer’s last year or two, but when I heard that he would not be with us long, I began to look back at his work, and before long I was hooked. Since then, I’ve diligently kept up with the site, and I read Michael Spencer’s book, which I would not hesitate to recommend. In that spirit, I really appreciate the re-posting of Michael Spencer’s pieces, to see those thrown open to discussion again, and there are so many that are so great. But moreover, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Chaplain Mike et al. for keeping this site going in their own way. My life and thinking is better because of the work you put in here. To put it lightly, thanks!

  6. Thanks for the invitation, Chaplain Mike. I’ve been lurking here since right around the time of Michael Spencer’s death but can no longer remember how I stumbled onto the site. I belong to a mainline Protestant denomination, 8 years back in a church after abandoning the church of my childhood in college and staying away from any organized religion for 30 years. I love the breadth of viewpoints here and the mostly civil discussions of topics that so often devolve into black and white arguments and name-calling on other sites and in real life. You’ve pointed me to many bloggers who are now regulars for me, but this is always the first site I open. I have a strong pull toward spiritual formation so I especially appreciate topics on that. I’m really grateful for the work you and the others continue to do to make InternetMonk such a valuable resource for me.

  7. Another long-time daily reader, infrequent commenter here. When I jumped from the evangelical ship IM kept me from drowning. Ultimately you helped me scamper back down the Canterbury Trail. I don’t say much, but words can’t express how much I appreciate you all. I’ll be the one in the corner listening carefully and knitting socks.

  8. Well, I’ll gladly take this opportunity (my first ever post) to express my gratitude for the Imonk community.Thanks for (generally) sane and kindhearted discussion about topics important to me.
    My personals: ex-SGM, still at Covenant Life, trying to figure out how the local church can be a healthy expression of true Christianity. Which has led me to draw the same conclusions as many other of you post-evangelicals.
    Thanks again!

    • Boy, people are going to think I was trolling for compliments with all these expressions of gratitude. I wasn’t, but I sure am glad you’re enjoying the site.

  9. La Angelena says

    I’ve been a practicing Mormon for most of my life–albeit a very frustrated one the last few years. I finally worked up the courage a couple of months ago to step away from what I’ve known and start my very own faith journey. I found IM as I was starting my transition, and I’ve really enjoyed reading. I also finished Michael Spencer’s book a few weeks ago. Even though I’m not coming from a mainstream Protestant or evangelical tradition, I can relate to a lot of the themes around here.

    Now back to lurking!

  10. Daryl Wheeler says

    I am a fairly new reader (a few months) and found the site from talk over on the Christian Humanist Podcast. I am a Southern Baptist for 40+ years though I grew up a Lutheran. I enjoy the civil discussion and hearing a different point of view. I have commented rarely, as by the time I formulate a reply the conversation has moved well beyond that point, but the thinking is good exercise for us old folks.

  11. Hello, everyone. I’ve commented maybe two or three times over the past (8?) years that I’ve been reading iMonk. Greatly appreciate the community and the sustenance it’s provided…. I’ve been observing– with increasing concern– the spread of “Third Wave” concepts, teachings, practices throughout the “evangelical” sector of the Church (and I use the term “evangelical” as shorthand, the way many others do, for what is loosely characterized as “Protestant”– in the sense of not Eastern Orthodox and not Roman Catholic– but excluding anything with a strong confessional or liturgical tradition or that’s part of the so-called Mainline). There is potential for much mischief in this trend. (And I’m being very kind when I say that.) But that’s what happens when you go “free-form,” which is what evangelical wing of the church (especially in the US of A) has done for the past couple decades. I appreciate the balanced and grounded teaching that’s on offer through this online community.

  12. Oh, one other comment. I see the “Gothard Files” link over on the right. Takes me back almost 25 years ago, when a bunch of people in my church got caught up in the enthusiasm for IBLP and the Gothard Way. (Side comment: Can’t say what creeps me out more: IBLP or the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. And yes, I know that Gothard’s a Fundy Legalist and Bethel is Third Wave Squared and the two “traditions” behind them are quite different.) it was the source of considerable friction within the church (and within my family: my not-so-late first wife was one of the enthusiasts, at least for a little while). I had to marvel at how comprehensive the Gothard system was. And how bereft of really Good News.

  13. Chaplain, Thank you for all the thought and work that I know you must invest in this site every day. Since before the original I-Monk’s passing I’ve been encouraged and uplifted during times of need by this Internet Monk website and all those who share their reactions, insights and comments to your words. You have a great readership that speaks volumes to your editorial expertise. And your wisdom has often found its way into my own writing and speaking at other times and in other places.

  14. I’m not a newbie, but I just wanted to comment how refreshing it is to hear from these usually quiet voices. This was a great idea, Chap Mike!

  15. Hi, Mike.

    I’ve read IM, on and off, for a few years now. I don’t comment often, but I do appreciate the thoughtful writing and civil discussion here. Thanks for all the effort you and others put in to keep the site going.


  16. Chaplain – I don’t understand half of what people say here, and that drives me further into study. It is somewhat embarrassing to not understand one’s own faith; however, it is such a pleasure to learn. Thank you so very much.

  17. Vega Magnus says

    Hi there.I post snarky off-topic stuff occasionally, but I read iMonk every day. I guess I’m a bit of an anomaly in that I’ve become what could best be described as a post-evangelical several decades before most folks here. I’m okay with being in the wilderness though. If we were to take that metaphor a bit further, I’d say that I’m walking in the wilderness, but I’m not lost and I’m actually kind of happy to be there.

  18. Hi… I wandered in here perhaps a year ago, probably following links from John Shore. I’ve recently left an (Episcopal) church that I loved for years, where I was married, because they seemed unable to cope with the fact that my partner left me because she is gay and I’m not in her demographic any more. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the silence I found was not helpful.

    I’ve been listening everywhere, online and in real life, to hear what Jesus and his Church have to say to people who are single, perhaps suddenly and unexpectedly so, with no real prospect of changing that. The “where two or three are gathered” rhetoric devalues the prayers of the single person. By actual count, I spend north of 97% of my time alone (and I work full time and ride with a carpool). Activities of an hour or two a week might get that down to 95%… I think I saw that USA Today quotes the Census Bureau as saying that about a quarter of households in the US consist of one adult, no children.

    I enjoy the intelligent things you-all say about the faith. Keep up the good work!

    • Prayer transcends time and space. When we pray to God, we are joining in the great choir or prayer uttered by brothers and sisters who lived in the past and will live in the future, as well as who live in the present but at at a great geographic distance. We pray with saints known and unknown, born and not yet born, with those who we do not share a common language. Far more than two or three are gathered!

  19. Occasionally I got my courage up to say a thing or two, and was invisible when I did, I think. But I so agree with what has been said by the others just north of me… This is an engaging, informative community. It would have been my delight to have today’s forum contributors in my large kitchen where I could serve coffee and be a listener in the corner. So I *listened* and felt a part of it anyway.

  20. I’ve had iMonk set to my home page for about a year now. Only made a few comments before. I enjoy the honest, intelligent discussions posted here (not to mention the variety of writing). I have been diving deeper into my faith over the past 13 years, and the deeper I get, the more faith I need. I discovered long ago that one of my spiritual gifts is faith, and I wondered (with “fear and trembling”) what God had in store for me that would require an extra dose of faith. Now I know. The deeper I get, the more I question what I have been taught (PCUSA since birth) and the shakier my beliefs have become. My beliefs have been whittled down to the two greatest commandments, and while God is steadfast, my neighbors are nuts! Nonetheless, I strive to love each and every one every day.
    Keep up the good work iMonk!

  21. Never entered the fray, but I’ve been a daily reader since about six months before Michael Spencer’s passing. His original writings, Chap Mike’s continuation, and the regular comments from the “usual suspects” have had a significant, positive influence on my faith journey. I can’t thank you all enough for what you do. Side note: I miss the Liturgical Gangstas posts. Any chance of reviving that in some form?

  22. This one’s for Headless Unicorn Guy (HUG) and anyone else who loves D&D…or the 80s.


    Thought it was interesting when the guy said “i’d like to read some scripture for you”, and then read…what…three words? Guess that counts.

  23. Hello Mike. I came across IM while reading “Oh me of little faith”. I like this site very much. Keep up the good work.

  24. Mark Kennedy says

    Well, since it seems that with the open mic I can’t go off-topic or drift into idiosyncrasy, so I’ll post a little self-disclosure. After 50 years in evangelical churches/seminaries/rule of thought, I recently tried an Episcopalian church–and love it. I was always taught mainline/liturgical churches were ‘liberal’, full of the unsaved, Bible-hating, etc. How far from the truth. It is very different for me, and way outside my comfort zone, but how can a fellowship that together prays the Lord’s prayer and recites the Nicene Creed every week be anything but historically orthodox Christians? Anyway, iMonk helped me make the switch, and I’m grateful. BTW, I’ve found several other post-evangelicals in the ranks.

  25. I’m a day late, but want to take advantage of the invite to add my voice, I’m a regular and avid reader of IM, and love the diversity and the wide range of subjects discussed. At times, the subject is a bit over my head and I have stop and use the dictionary or follow-up with search, but I love the challenge examining my faith’s worldview and gaining new perspectives. CM, Mike Bell, Lisa, Martha, Mule, Dan, Eagle and all the great commentators, thank you!

    I too, like LoneStar miss the Liturgical Gangstas posts.

  26. I’m in a similar category to many out there, a long time reader but infrequent commenter. Part of this is I’m often out of depth for some of the topics, or due to my only reading a couple times a week the conversations often seem finished days beforehand. It doesn’t help that I like to collect my thoughts first, and tend to review my words to see if my meaning is getting across clearly, this often means I tend not to say anything. Also, while I’ve never felt excluded being non-American, often the cultural and church dynamic spoken of feel distinctly American first, with international perspectives chiming in here and there. Nothing against this, just makes some aspects less relatable/relevant at times.

    I have to say I quite enjoy the range of topics and perspectives, sometimes I don’t agree with some opinions/trains of thought, or more commonly don’t even know where to start wrestling/analysing with some never before encountered topics. I greatly enjoy this though, and have witnessed particular growth as a Christian prompted by this site.

    At times I’ve appreciated the articles focusing on worship from history and their impact on us today, though I admit at times I’ve skipped them due to not having the time to read a longer article and then forgetting to come back to them.

    The area that first drew me to the site was the book reviews, is there a central location where these can easily be looked at? I would also welcome more reviews, or even just short thoughts about the books being read, as I’m an avid reader and am always on the lookout for new titles. I’m deeply grateful for being introduced to the works of Frederick Buechner. I think I also heard of The Hammer of God from here.

    My thanks for all the good work and fun and/or meaningful times, here’s to much more to come!
    God bless.

  27. I’m a regular reader and commenter…

    What got me hooked was Michael’s “Coffee Cup Apologetics” and his podcast. Wonderful, thoughtful, fun resources. His was a life-line in the ecclesiological insanity I was struggling with.

  28. I’m also an infrequent commentator but have been reading iMonk since at least 2008 or so. The current writers and Michael Spencer before have been an immense blessing to me in my walk of faith. I would consider myself post-evangelical in many ways but for many reasons am unwilling to leave evangelicalism entirely, and certainly not the faith. I’m an atmospheric scientist by profession specializing in severe storms and tornadoes, and have been fascinated with issues of science and faith for as long as I can remember. I was YEC for many years before switching to theistic evolution, but that’s a long story!